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FACE Report: Truck driver fatally struck during flatbed trailer unloading

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Case report: #17NY014
Issued by: New York State Department of Health Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Date of incident: May 13, 2017

A 53-year-old truck driver was struck and killed when fence pipes fell from a flatbed trailer during unloading at a fence sales company. It was raining when the driver arrived, and the company owner was the only person onsite. The trailer carried 18 bundles of pipes arranged in three tiers, with six bundles in each tier. The owner started to unload the pipes with a telehandler while the delivery driver stood on the other side of the trailer winding securement straps. As the owner lifted the fifth bundle on the top tier, the sixth bundle slid and fell to the ground, trapping the delivery driver underneath. The owner immediately drove the telehandler to the driver, lifted the 1,400-pound bundle off him and called 911. Emergency medical services arrived and transported the driver to a hospital, where he died of crushing injuries three hours later.

To help prevent similar incidents:

  • Employers should develop and implement standard operating procedures for loading and unloading.
  • Employers should implement measures to safely handle cargo that is slippery and slick, or can easily roll, shift or fall from trailers or material handling equipment.
  • Freight companies should develop and implement standard operating procedures for drivers to follow during loading or unloading at customer sites.
  • Freight companies should provide loading and unloading safety training, as well as ensure drivers understand and follow procedures.

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